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Toxic heavy metal lead found at 700 times national limit in China's water supply


China
(NaturalNews) Chinese officials discovered nightmarish levels of lead and mercury in Jixi, a northeastern city, last month. After testing underground water in Jixi's Liumao Village in Heilongjiang Province, researches found mercury levels nine times the national standard, reported China Central Television.

Cancer-causing lead levels were 700 times the national standard.

Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury are often found in Chinese food exports. The occurrence of heavy metals found in Chinese exports is the result of extreme environmental pollution. One of the nation's leading culprits for pollution is the graphite-mining industry, in which China is the leading producer, providing 70 percent of the world's supply.

Health Ranger Mike Adams made a recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show educating the public regarding dangerous heavy metals found in protein powders, herbs and superfoods grown in polluted nations like China.

Through lab testing, Mike discovered that rice protein, a main ingredient in protein shakes, was frequently contaminated with toxic heavy metals. These include lead, mercury, cadmium and one metal rarely tested for, tungsten.

Rice protein grown in California tested within the state's recommended levels of 0.5 mcg; imported rice protein from China tested at levels 20 times that limit.

"The FDA does not require organic foods to be tested for heavy metals," warned Mike.

Money over nature and health

Residents near Jixi say officials go to great lengths to protect graphite-mining companies, despite their knowledge that it's contaminating native air and water.

Graphite mining has become extremely lucrative over the years due to a growing demand for lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are used to power laptop computers, smart phones and electric cars, including Tesla's Model S and Toyota's plug-in Prius.

The value of graphite has skyrocketed, with a ton selling for 2,500 Yuan in 2010 or US $400. It's currently valued at 6,000 Yuan, or US $960.

Battery plants destroying the environment

Chinese authorities have closed nearly 30 percent of graphite-mining plants due environmental-impact violations, and while this has lessened environmental impacts, it's also affected a world economy built around technology. The pollution has caused smog, contaminated water and even damaged crops, creating major health concerns.

Nearly one mile from the mining plant near Jixi lie ash-covered rivers, homes and fields. "We have to bring in clothes put out to dry while they are still wet, otherwise they're covered in ash," said an elderly villager.

Another villager said they know the ash has contaminated the water, but they have no other resources, forcing them to drink it.

"If you shine a torch in the evening, you see graphite ash falling like snowflakes on the fields," said another villager.

"Don't mention it. This has been damaging our health for a year," said a villager.

Pollution from graphite mines can cause an array of environmental detriments including acid spills that cause lead poisoning, and unbearable smog.

While a manager at the local Changyuan graphite-processing plant said they hadn't experienced any pollution problems, he admitted that a leak occurred on March 20, causing operations to temporarily be suspended. Residents said they had no knowledge of this leak, and were therefore unable to take precautions, subsequently drinking toxic water.

"Officials want to protect this business," said the local manager. "If they close small mines, where can they get tax and how can they solve unemployment problems?"

"The plant was set up by Shenzhen-based BTR battery Materials Co Ltd and local mine owners last year," reported Shanghai Daily. Some of their clients include Japanese electronic producer Panasonic and domestic car and rechargeable battery manufacturer BYD.

Additional sources:

http://investing.businessweek.com

http://chemistry.about.com

http://science.naturalnews.com
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